• FILM

  • SEARCH FOR

Sydney White

Sydney White

Directed by Joe Nussbaum. Starring Amanda Bynes, Sara Paxton, Matt Long, Jack Carpenter, Jeremy Howard, Crystal Hunt, Adam Hendershott, Danny Strong, Samm Levine, Libby Mintz, John Schneider, Arnie Pantoja, Donté Bonner. (2007, PG-13, 90 min.)

REVIEWED By Toddy Burton, Fri., Sept. 21, 2007

With her Kewpie doll eyes and puffy face, Bynes has well earned her place in tween fandom. And bless her heart, she’s got decent comedic timing. But let’s hope she develops a more discerning eye for scripts before she signs up for Sydney White 2. A loosely updated version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the story follows young Sydney (Bynes) as she heads off to college, inadvertently steals a bitchy sorority queen’s hot-girl status, wins the heart of a “prince,” and winds up as the spokeswoman for a group of outcasts. From the contrived romance to the hazy lavender eye make-up that Sydney sports in every scene, there’s nothing real about this film. More at home with her comic-book collection than a pair of heels, Sydney is the quintessential movie tomboy. Having grown up mostly sans mother, Sydney arrives at college armed with photos of her late mom’s sorority days, anxious to live up to the legacy. Little does she know that the sorority is controlled by evil Rachel Witchburn (Paxton) whose style includes forcing the sisters to recite, “Target cute pledges. Avoid fat losers.” Though Sydney is certainly cute and never fat, she’s an oddball. And while her legacy status gets her in the door, Sydney makes an enemy when Rachel realizes that hot guy No. 1, Tyler Prince (Long), is into Syd. And to top it off, Syd does weird things like eats bacon, throws a football, and talks to dorks. As a result, she gets the boot on the eve of pledge initiation. What’s a skinny pretty girl with permanent lavender eye make-up to do? Why, shack up with the college dorks, of course. Consisting of seven nerds, all based loosely on the Disney dwarves (Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, etc.), the outcasts embrace the homeless Sydney. These eccentric characters provide some entertaining distraction, particularly Carpenter as the Sneezy-esque, perpetually allergic Lenny and Pantoja as the dumbed-down, Dopey-like George. But, ultimately, nothing can distract from the reality of a watered-down script with a cringe-worthy love story. A better version would have Sydney wind up with one of the nerds. The shiny-toothed Tyler just isn’t nearly as interesting as any of the seven dorks. All that to say, I will admit (begrudgingly) that I was a little moved during the climactic finale when Sydney rallies the school’s varying marginalized into a sort of celebratory protest. It’s cheesy and contrived, but even the most watered-down stories retain elements of the original masterpieces.

READ MORE
More Joe Nussbaum Films
Prom
Friday Night Lights' Aimee Teegarden stars in this tween wish-fulfillment movie.

Kimberley Jones, April 29, 2011

Sleepover
Spy Kids' Alexa Vega graduates to tween hijinks.

Kimberley Jones, July 9, 2004

More by Toddy Burton
Birds of America
Birds of America
Alex Karpovsky tracks a once-extinct 'Woodpecker'

March 7, 2008

Big Time, Small Screen
Big Time, Small Screen
Local filmmaker Ya'Ke's 'The Second Coming' screens on HBO

Feb. 1, 2008

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Sydney White, Joe Nussbaum, Amanda Bynes, Sara Paxton, Matt Long, Jack Carpenter, Jeremy Howard, Crystal Hunt, Adam Hendershott, Danny Strong, Samm Levine, Libby Mintz, John Schneider, Arnie Pantoja, Donté Bonner

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
This content has not been formatted for this window size.
Please increase the size of your browser window, or revisit this page on a mobile device.
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)